Why I am Not Excited about StarFinder

StarFinder is the new science-fantasy roleplaying game by Paizo based on their incredibly popular Pathfinder game. It was released a couple of days ago and already third-party supplements created for it dominate the “Bestselling Titles” list at RPGNow. I like the science-fantasy genre and I know that Paizo’s releases are usually of an awesome quality, but still I am not really interested in StarFinder.

The main reason is that it’s basically Pathfinder in Spaaaaaace! Pathfinder was based on D&D 3.5 and even though they improved a couple of the rules it’s still the same game. In my opinion D&D 3.5 and therefore Pathfinder is a broken game, made worse by feature creep. Especially feats are a mess. But I get that still a lot of people love the game perhaps even because of the same reasons I have my issues with it.

When they first announced StarFinder I was intrigued and hoped for something like a Pathfinder 2.0: streamlined, moving towards a more modern system, killing a few sacred cows. Unfortunately they decided to keep it compatible with Pathfinder. So even if StarFinder introduces cool new stuff, it’s still based on an engine which I deem broken.


Why did Paizo do this? Why did they create Pathfinder in Space instead of a new edition? I guess it’s the easiest and most risk-free move. Pathfinder is – as I mentioned before – still widely popular. Science-fantasy seems to be the hot new thing. So why not combine both? Because of the compatibility every new StarFinder product also means new stuff for Pathfinder. So the life of that almost 15 years old game gets renewed for a couple more years, but that also means that Paizo has no reason to create a proper new edition of the system.

What are your thoughts on StarFinder? Yay or Nay? Love it or hate it? What would you like to see changed in a Pathfinder 2.0? Please share your comments below!

By the way, if you like posts like these, why not help me out by supporting the blog on Patreon? Your support will help to make Stargazer’s World even better!

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

10 thoughts on “Why I am Not Excited about StarFinder”

  1. I too. Have no interest in StarFinder or it’s twin brother Pathfinder. It’s a rules set that has everything and nothing exciting about it. Only those that feel they habe to have the bestest character from level one even in that is a broken game to do it.
    Why change what’s broken when people like it broken.

  2. My group talked about this a bit last night. I think Starfinder is up to Paizo’s usual high production quality and backward compatibility, and it has a strong style of its own. There is already a lot of third-party support for it and other sci-fi games on DriveThruRPG and elsewhere.

    However, I found character creation to be more complicated than necessary, the ties to Pathfinder’s fantasy setting too tight, and not enough cleaning up of the D20 crunch.

    I’ll probably get the remaining core books — mainly for borrowing bits for my own homebrew campaign — and I’d give it a B+. If you liked Spelljammer, Alternity, or DragonStar, then Starfinder is a decent successor. What SF games would you rate as “A+”?

    I do like some of the cross-genre support for D&D5e, including Hyperlanes and ESPer Genesis, which are more compatible with my desire for streamlined D20 space opera.

    1. The main turn off for me is the crunch of the used system. I prefer lighter systems and nowadays I’d rather play Coriolis, Mongoose Traveller, or d6 Space. A Science Fantasy game based on D&D 5th Edition may also worth a look.

  3. I feel pretty much the same way. I already have a favorite 3.x space setting (Dragonstar) and don’t need another. If they’d released something for 5E I might be interested. But not more Pathfinder.

  4. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed each version of DnD that has come out. I’ve never played Pathfinder, but listened to several live play podcasts and I liked it. Lately though, I’ve soured a bit on D20 systems and have fully embraced FFG’s Edge system of dice. FFG is more story over simulation and I like the way the dice make it easy for a game master to handle things on the fly to the benefit of the story, rather than the staging of an RPG as a strategical game of chess. I won’t criticize anyone who picks up Starfinder, heck I might pick up a copy myself someday. But more likely I will continue with FFG’s Star Wars products, look for space hacks for FATE and/or pick up a copy of GENESYS when it is available.

    1. For me the changes just don’t go far enough to call it PF 2.0. But opinions differ, which is fine. My core problem is that it’s mostly compatible which means it has a comparable level of crunch, which I am not too fond of. The changes in how feats were designed may help, but I am still skeptical.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.